Pro-Am Update

 

Article by Dave Cortesi and Don Anderson

Photos by Don Anderson and Dave Cortesi


Good News and Bad News 

The news from last weekend's San Francisco Pro-Am semifinal games is mostly good, a little bad.

The bad news is probably mild and transitory: two of Stanford's incoming freshman team were injured. Near the end of the first game Saturday, Melanie Murphy took an off-balance jump-shot and landed wrong, apparently spraining her left ankle. She left the building riding pick-a-back on Morgan Clyburn's shoulders.

 Melanie Murphy twisted her ankle and hit the floor in the last minute of overtime.


Michelle Harrison applied ice to Melanie's ankle. Looking on sympathetically were Jill Harmon, J.J. Hones, and Jayne Appel.

Then, near the end of Sunday's semifinal match, Jane Appel stepped on someone's foot and rolled her right ankle, leaving her, like Melanie, to spend the rest of the game on the bench with an ad-hoc icebag taped to her ankle. It remains to be seen if either of these injuries is serious enough to interfere with the start of practice.

 Jayne Appel burst through for a layup during Saturday's game.

The good news is much more substantial and long-lasting than these probably-transient injuries. It is simply that the Stanford frosh are the real deal: ready to be full productive team members -- possibly even starting players -- right out of the gate. As Bob Dodge said while watching Michelle Harrison, "The amazing thing is that now we get kids of out high school with these kinds of skills."  

Two Stanford upperclassmen were there and shone as well. Morgan Clyburn played both days with energy and confidence. She was devastating on Saturday, hitting either of 5 of 6 three-point shots, or 6 of 7, depending on whose count you listened to. Sunday she opened the game for her team with a three-point swish on the first possession (she eventually tallied 13 points). But she also defended in the paint with energy, and has clearly been working on her "fake a three then step in and take the 12-foot jumper" move -- as well as picking up O-boards and putting them back with layups. 

 Morgan Clyburn sank treys like they were going out of style.

Markisha Coleman ran the offense for her team much of Sunday's game and showed her blazing speed. More than once we watched her snatch a turnover out of the air at the defensive end and seemingly already be up to full speed heading down-court while her hands were closing on the ball. 

 

 Markisha Coleman drove to the hoop, again and again.

Incoming player Jayne Appel ran up 20 points Sunday prior to her injury and showed signs that she could be a dominating post player.  She combines the height and broad shoulders of a Cori Enghusen type with great athleticism and energy, and was able to score easily over older players of nearly her height. 

 Jayne Appel lived up to her stellar reputation.

A most welcome surprise was the sparkling play of incomer Michelle Harrison. She scored from everywhere, both in the paint and on the perimeter -- Sunday she was 5 of 7 on three-pointers, and 10 more for a total of 25 points. She blocked shots; she jumped center in the tip- off; she defended inside and outside and all around the garden. Her ability to jump is very impressive; it is unclear which of the two can reach higher above the rim, she or Cissy Pierce, but we'll find out. 

 Michelle Harrison: Dunkability?

Before twisting her ankle, Melanie Murphy also looked very good. She showed great vision when she brought the ball up court and passed off, she had a good shooting touch, and she was very tenacious (and successful) on the boards.  J.J. Hones has looked terrific in the pickup games on campus this summer, but didn’t get much playing time in the Pro-Am games last weekend.

 Melanie Murphy took charge bringing the ball up the floor.

 J.J. Hones didn't get much playing time last weekend, but she has looked extremely tough in summer pickup games on campus.

 Based on the Pro-Am, Tara and Amy are going to have the very pleasant dilemma of trying to figure out how to get all the available talent onto the floor.